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Jessica Simpson Says Body-Shaming Tabloids "Made Me Feel Like a Failure"

The singer looks back on "the 'mom jeans' era of 2009."

Jessica Simpson titled her 2020 memoir Open Book, and now she's opening up even more. The book is now out in paperback, with some new additions including a diary entry the now 40-year-old singer wrote in 2009. In it, Simpson writes about the body shaming she experienced from tabloids and how insecure it made her feel.

In light of the updated version of the Open Book being released, Simpson also spoke with People about being on the receiving end of such hate from the media, how it made her "feel like a failure," and why she believes that the world is now a better place when it comes to body image.

Read on to see what Simpson had to say. And for more on the fashion designer, check out Jessica Simpson Admits She Was Drunk in That 2017 "Ellen" Interview.

Her diary entry shows how insecure she was feeling at the time.

Jessica Simpson performing at the Indiana State Fair in 2008
John Steel /

"Why does the cruel opinion of this world get to me?" Simpson wrote in 2009. "Last week I read back on my journals from '99 and I beat myself up about how fat I am before I even gave the world a chance to. Today my heart breaks because people say I'm fat."

She also wrote that on a scale of "1-100% of the day" she thought about her body "80%".

Read about another celeb who's spoken out about body scrutiny with Jonah Hill Gets Real About Body Shaming After Tabloid Prints Beach Photos.

The entry came after a particularly traumatic experience.

Jessica Simpson performs at the 99.9 Kiss Country 24th Annual Chili Cook Off in Pembroke Pines, Florida in 2009
Logan Fazio/Getty Images

Describing the diary entry in her book, Simpson writes that it's "from the 'mom jeans' era of 2009." In 2009, Simpson performed a show in Florida and wore high-waisted flared jeans. The images went viral, with tabloids writing that Simpson had "let herself go" and criticizing her clothing choice, while often referring to the pants as "mom jeans."

"I hate that I was treated as an object to be tossed around like a rag doll, but I smile to see me talking to myself back and forth across all these years," Simpson wrote in the caption. "It's like I knew this was the purpose all along: you reading this right now in this very moment."

Celebrities and fans alike are looking back on how the media treated stars in years past. Read more on the topic with This Resurfaced Oprah Interview With Mary-Kate and Ashley Has Fans Livid.

The negativity stuck with her. 

Jessica Simpson posing with her book
Jessica Simpson/Instagram

"I don't think people always realized that there was a human being, a beating heart and working eyes with actual feelings behind those headlines and that words can hurt and stay with you for a lifetime," Simpson told People.

Previously, in a February 2020 interview with Glamour, Simpson shared that being shamed during the "mom jeans" era changed performing for her. "I felt good up there, I felt confident, and then it ruined the stage for me, and the stage was my home. It broke my home," she said.

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She's changed the way she thinks about her body and is hopeful that the world is changing, too.

Jessica Simpson in a selfie from Instagram in March 2021
Jessica Simpson/Instagram

"I'm so happy that times are changing now and more women are accepted for who they are," she told Glamour. "People are flaunting themselves at every size, because that's how it absolutely should be."

In the interview with People, Simpson also said that the "response to that portion of my story has been overwhelmingly supportive." She continued, "I spent so many years beating myself up for an unrealistic body standard that made me feel like a failure all of the time. I am still a work in progress when it comes to self-criticism but now I have the tools to quiet those voices in my head when they speak up."

For another star who's had enough, check out Charlie Puth Fires Back at Body Shamers Over Shirtless Paparazzi Photos.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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